Link to the Original Story: NPC- JED
It is HARD to write an action sequence. That's what I learned from this story. Damn hard. Sure it doesn't seem that tricky, I mean, hundreds, if not thousands, of untalented Hollywood hacks do it every day. And yet...tricky. You spend too much time on the action and you end up overloading it with hyperbole. Bang! Pow! Zowie! Sounds positively Bat-tastic.
On the other hand, if you try to make it splendiferously dark you end up sounding like a cross between Ernest Hemingway and Steven Seagal. "I would drink to his memory. Drink blood. In the rain."
Neither of these is, how you say, "good." But walking the middle line is tricky. Chalk that up to lessons learned about writing. Horror and action are harder than you'd think, while drama is much, much easier than you'd think.
Other than that, well, it's a fun little story with loads and loads of geekiness. I wish I could pretend it's geek chic, but no, just plain geek.
On second glance, I think it's also awfully wordy.
I like how JED (both of us, maybe) took this opportunity to write basically some AD&D fanfic. I don’t mean that in the ordinary, insulting way I would use the term “fanfic,” though. (Excuse me for a moment while I climb onto my soapbox). At the risk of exposing the true unwholesome depths to which my geekery extends, AD&D is one of, if not the, most amazing and creative worlds ever imagined, in no small part, I think, because it wasn’t created by a single person, but fleshed out by tons of creative minds over the years. Now frankly, I don’t love where they’ve gone with it lately, but if we were to put AD&D fanfic into the same category as Buffy fanfic or something, we would be doing the fantasy community an enormous disservice. The other notable difference is that AD&D is designed for people to create their own stories in its setting. It’s whole purpose in being is to be a backdrop for individual creativity. And Planescape, the setting where this story seems like it would be right at home, is seriously about the most creative fantasy world that has ever been, Tolkien be damned (no disrespect, of course).
Okay, now to the actual story: I like it. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s well-done, it’s got that same “gives you something to think about but not-all-that-deep” thing JED was talking about in reference to my story; overall, it’s a great little fantasy story. Nothing really ground-breaking here, but why does there always have to be? If all writing had to break new ground to be good, there wouldn’t be much ground left to walk on. Or something.